Here’s the lie: Leadership is a solo endeavor performed by the rugged individualist. With or without the read cape, leaders rise above needing others. They make it happen. Other people are spectators.
Here’s the truth: all of that is bunch of bunk. Leaders need community. They need it for their soul, they need it for better perspective, they need it to help them lead well. You need it and so do I.
Sure, leadership calls for courageous decisions and at times is an isolating reality. However, you and I find strength in relationships. We thrive best in community.
All of us want to know that we are part of a team. We want to know that while we do our part, others walk alongside us who will share the load. Community is the place where others care about our well being as much as they care about how we execute the task at hand.
If you are going to be a leader who empowers others—one that cultivates, equips, and releases others to make significant impact—you have to give attention to the relational fabric of the environment you are creating for them. Spend time and capital to create space for community. Support relational connections where collaboration can flow. Lead your team in encouragement and celebration. Fight the pull of gravity that makes your urgent agenda, goals, and unfinished task list the only thing you talk about.
For those of you engaged in ministry, ministry is about the work that we do and the people we do it with. However, relationships take time and energy. The demands of the moment make it easy to worry more about the production that comes from people than about the people who produce.
Without strong relational community…
- Leaders lose perspective, especially in the midst of demanding circumstances.
- Supervision becomes institutional, formal, and impersonal, rather than natural and easy.
- Problems can become destabilizing and demoralizing.
- People focus on the task alone and miss God’s unique and ongoing work in their lives while they work on the task.
- You end up with a culture of drivenness and all the baggage that comes with it.
Your turn: what can you do this week to strengthen the bonds of community among those you lead or influence?
This is the fourth of six installments in a series on “How to create an empowering environment.” Check out the previous three posts: